Hike to Topakas
Topakas is the name of a mountain and the surrounding area in the southwest of Milos, situated between Sikia and Kleftiko. During the Occupation in the Second World War, the German Wehrmacht set up a position on the peak of this mountain since its favourable strategic position and height of about 340 m permitted extensive radar monitoring of the west coast and part of the south coast of Milos. Here you can still find the well-preserved ruin of a building, the remains of a radar post and the walls of a gun emplacement complete with its underground ammunition bunker.
The start of the footpath is by the road. If you’re coming from the north, it’s on a hairpin bend immediately after Agios Ioannis Monastery. The wooden sign is simple but clear and tells you that you have a 1.3 km walk ahead of you. From the road you cannot tell at first where the footpath goes. But after just a few metres the view of the sea opens up and gives you a sense of direction. Behind you on the right you can see the monastery, the entire route down to the bay of Agios Ioannis, its three sections of beach and beyond them Antimilos.
In order to be able to build and then supply the German radar post in this isolated spot at all, a well consolidated road was built across the stony, hilly landscape. Its middle section is still very well maintained today and it makes progress along the footpath easier.
Occasional painted markers help you at the start of your walk. In the end, the remains of the old road show the direction and make progress on foot easier.
As you approach the peak of the mountain, the terrain gradually becomes steeper and the path starts to snake in wide loops. Although in places you can take a shortcut through the uneven thorny bushes, in principle you should follow the path signs since the climb gets steeper and steeper and harder to follow. The destination seems close but you cannot immediately see where and how you will overcome the last few metres.
A look back over the snaking path.
On reaching the peak, you first come across the ruins of a single-storey building with several rooms. Behind this are the masonry-built remains of the gun emplacement which today looks more like a viewing point with a fantastic panorama looking towards Kleftiko – if not for the entrance to the former ammunition bunker with a memorial plaque. In a hollow a little way further to the south stands the vestigial skeleton of the radar, eaten away by rust. These three components form the major artefacts in the isolated spot of Topakas, because of its history a somewhat oppressive little patch of former civilisation in this unspoilt area characterised by craggy rocks, extensive phrygana (scrubland) and the almost ever-present view of the breadth of the Aegean.